November 5th, 2021
As some of you might be aware, I was not employed in K-12 public education for roughly five years when I restarted in Dolores. Now, I did teach at the college level but that is much different from K-12 education. Being away for that length of time often makes me think about the big difference from then until now, and one of the biggest differences, in my mind, is the level of stress that everyone seems to be under. Let’s be clear – Covid brings about a high level of stress for all. The administrators are trying to keep students healthy and learning, teachers are trying to teach and keep themselves and the students safe, and, of course, the students are trying to have a “normal” school while trying to remain safe and healthy. Additional worries equal additional stress. Some are even referring to this as “trama”. In the October 2021 edition of District Administrator, an article highlighted Social-emotional Rebound and gave recommendations for how school leaders can help children (and adults) cope with the trauma and uncertainty of COVID. While I agree that there are many things that we, as administrators, can do to help, I believe there are some things that each of us can do to help with reducing stress and helping us cope in these unpredictable times – Self-care.
I practice self-care every day. I’m usually out for a walk with my dog Bernie before the sun comes up. We walk down by the river and head out to our favorite place where I can sit and watch the sun come up. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet, and it’s rejuvenating. I heard in a recent podcast that there are three S’s you should understand in giving yourself time to rejuvenate: Solitude, Silence, and Stillness. Solitude is to be alone. There are many places we can go to be alone, our rooms, our backyards, or a multitude of places in the great outdoors. Solitude by itself is not enough. The next “S” is Silence. Silence refers to the quietness you should strive for in your mind – this can be tough. We are constantly bombarded with “noise” in our lives. Our phones alone provide a lot of distractions. We need to take time to set it all down and just let our minds be silent. The final “S” is what we are truly striving for: Stillness is when you combine solitude and silence. It’s the act of being alone and clearing your mind. When I sit on that rock by the river I am by myself (Bernie’s with me but he’s not a distraction) and I try to silence my mind – to be in stillness. I sit in this manner for five or so minutes and then head back to my house to get ready for the day. That five minutes, many times, is the best part of my day!
So regardless if you are a student, parent, teacher, or other employee or community member, try to put five minutes of stillness in your day. Practice self-care as much as you can, use your weekends to relax and enjoy yourself and recharge your batteries for the week.
Hope you have a great weekend!
Yours in education,